North Koreans Fail to Show at Meeting on U.S. Troop Remains

Media reports following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang last week painted a dire picture of denuclearization talks, seizing on a statement released by North Korea's Foreign Ministry decrying the Trump administration's "gangster-like" approach.

American officials have been on standby for weeks and have sent wooden coffins and flags to Panmunjom in preparation for a handover.

According to a diplomatic source in Seoul, North Korean officials have yet to show up as of 2 p.m. when United Nations military officials already headed to the meeting point in Panmunjom, Yonhap reported.

But a closer look at the language of the statement has actually led one analyst to be optimistic that a "train wreck" may have been averted during Pompeo's meeting, and that the door is still open to progress.

An estimated 30,000 U.S. soldiers died in the 1950-53 Korean war. He tweeted after the summit that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea", and he has praised the "great success" during campaign rallies. The president rattled USA allies by demanding that the other NATO nations pay more toward their own defense, although he stopped short of threatening to pull the United States out of the trans-Atlantic alliance. 5,300 of that number are believed to have been killed north of the 38th parallel, which marks the border between the two Koreas.

Between 1996 and 2005, some 33 recovery operations were conducted in North Korea which saw 200 sets of remains returned.

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According to media reports, the US military sent wooden cases to which the remains of soldiers will be transferred at the border.

The remains of almost 8,000 US troops remain unaccounted for on the Korean peninsula, and 5,300 of those bodies are believed to be located somewhere north of the demilitarized zone.

Mr Pompeo had said progress was made during his two-day visit to Pyongyang.

USA officials and experts have said the shift in attitude was to be expected as the North Koreans are known for brinkmanship and trying to up the ante ahead of tough negotiations over their nuclear missile program.

"North Korea would have to deal with the consequences of breaking away from the negotiations if it were to do so, so it will likely not make an extreme decision", Kim said. "We're going to continue to work through that", the vice president said. Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

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